A century of goodwill

Published 9:54 am Friday, July 14, 2017

The day before returning to their respective homelands, Lara Tietz and Emma Gregersen came by The Tidewater News for a quick visit with their host, Welton Deshields of Franklin. For the first couple of weeks beginning June 17, they had been living with him and his wife, Lottie.

The couple has regularly been hosting students from other nations as part of the Lions Clubs International cultural exchange; this is the 100th year for the club’s program.

Emma Gregersen, left, of Thy, Denmark, with Lara Tietz of Kassel, Germany. They have been guests of Welton and Lottie Deshields of Franklin. The visit was through the Lions Clubs International exchange program, which the Deshields have participated for several years. — Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

Last year’s guests were Caythy Petersen and Reetta Meskanen of Denmark and Finland, respectively.

Lara, 17, lives in Kassel, Germany; Emma, 18, is from Thy, Denmark, and both said they’ve enjoyed their first visit to the United States of America. The Lions clubs in their localities helped in getting the two to travel stateside.

“Very friendly” and “welcoming” is how they describe us, whether it’s been here or other parts of Virginia and even Washington, D.C. They were also pleased to meet fellow exchange students at the  summer camp in the Blue Ridge, which is a regular part of the program.

Emma said she’s been surprised by the heat; she’s used to summer temperatures in the 70s, but Lara added she’s been enjoying the summer.

There’s still a few weeks vacation left for each student when they return to their final high school year. Lara said she’s considering a major in medicine, and Emma is contemplating a career in law.